Forms of Interactivity: the disappearance of the audience

by David Marshall

"What is the difference between active and interactive? The supposed distinction between active and interactive serves as a definition of new media: that is, the media form has some embedded notion of interactivity that transforms it from the relationship that traditional media forms have possessed.

On superficial levels, the level of activity and engagement of someone reading a novel may be as high or higher than the claimed interactivity of the computer game player. Although this claim of greater engagement and activity can be made on behalf of the non-interactive novel, interactivity implies some sort of transformative relationship between the user of the media and the media form itself. Encoded into new media is the capacity to transform the actual flow and presentation of the material itself. This transformative relationship is critical in understanding the difference between active and interactive, and also provides the perceived superiority of the interactive media environment over the active media environment "

from New Media Cultures by P. David Marshall ( London : Hodder Arnold, 2004) chapter 2

The Indiscretions of New Media

"It is often easy to assess the current array of media as just extrapolations of what has already developed political economic analysis rightly points to the continued and increasing concentration of media ownership. Five recording companies, themselves part of larger conglomerates, control the production of popular music. Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation continues to expand its influence through the acquisition of satellite services, satellite channels and array of cable-delivered television super stations beamed to all continents on the planet. The Internet, for all its diversity, has still seen the emergence of the same large corporations as the most popular websites. Indeed, whenever there is any successful web-based start-up company, it is usually the major media players who are the key investors. A consortium of major entertainment corporations, as we have seen, supported Tivo. Blockbuster films, as discussed in chapter six, are clearly a strategy that is connected to maintaining an industrial hegemony for the leading film studios and production companies.

New Media Cultures has charted a somewhat different course while acknowledging the significant forces behind maintaining the centers of cultural power. The newness of new media has to be seen as a cultural challenge that whilst revealing the efforts of industrial consolidation and transnational strategizing, it also betrays the elixir of cultural change, transformation and the uncontainability of these strategies. These new cultural apparatuses of connection and cultural exchange need to be understood as a transforming echo with the populace and as forms of popularity that often herald larger transformations in contemporary culture......"

from New Media Cultures by P. David Marshall ( London : Hodder Arnold/ New York : Oxford 2004) Conclusion


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